Are we in a might-makes-right world? Is it all about physical strength? I think money and military might are a bigger problem.

Absolutely. And the money, and the military might is simply an extension of it. Think about it, how do you get a lot of wealth, more than your fair share? You steal it! What’s the best way to steal? Go to war! We have been doing this for ages.

If it was about physical strength how come someone like Stephen Hawkins is such an influence?

Oh come on! He is the exception — not the rule.

The world of politics, business and power is not particularly populated by the physically strongest men — although it is populated by far more men than women.

How many short men are in politics? I worked for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, an organization that runs the two major airports in Washington D.C.. Almost all of the men who worked in this largely male organization, where ex-military. I ran a task diversity force that was composed of about 20 executives and high level managers — almost all men, almost all of them, well over 6 feet tall. This is where I learned that men use their bodies to try to intimidate people. They would use their bodies to try to intimidate each other, as well as me. I was never intimidated. (That stunned many of them a bit.) No matter what kind of antics they would resort to, it never intimidated me because, I’d grown up in a time and place, where I’d seen much more aggressive and threatening body language. (Urban Black America circa 1980–1989.) So they didn’t faze me.

But I will tell you this much, the world of politics that I navigated was run by BIG men, and they used their bodies, as well as a whole host of other behaviors, to manipulate and get what they want. A psychologist who worked with me at that organization, tried to teach me to read body language, because she said, that it is really 80% of all human communication, and so much more honest than anything verbal.

I never learned how to do it all that well. As, I largely only pay attention to that which annoys or disturbs or amuses me. Anyway, I would say while the men don’t have to necessarily look like Swartzenegger, society, at least American society, has a strong preference for men who are big and tall. They get to be executives, they get promotions, they get large salaries, whether they deserve them or not. And certainly women have this kind of advantage too, but they just have to be pretty. My point is, all of this is pretty shallow. We are paying attention to the wrong things.

I am not sure that it is about men or women ‘relying’ on such weapons. (You watch too much GoT!)

I DO! I just love IT!

For me, now, the reality is that men only dominate in those areas because their natural energies are more available — and also because same-sex competition demands it. Men trying to outdo each other professionally or even in a bar-room scrap can be about displaying their masculinity, in the same way that women spending huge amounts of time and money trying to look better than each other is a display of feminine competition — even if both sexes do these things pretty instinctively and without much thought.

Yeah, I don’t disagree. I just think it’s stupid, with regard to both sexes. It’s stupid. The focus is on stupid things. And it all goes back to the “might is right” paradigm. For women, I guess the parallel paradigm is “pretty always wins!” But it’s not that simple, for women, I don’t think.

The whole male world is colder than the female world in terms of overt shows of support. Guys will actually support other guys in amazing ways, but it is all based on mutual expectation — not looking for sympathy and attention. Each sex needs a different form of support from members of both its own sex and the opposite sex.

Yes. I agree.

But as regards the actual sex act, I think men have far less resistance to female seduction than women have to male seduction.

I’m going to have to say it depends on the male or female. Certainly the seductress is a type of female- and yeah, she can wrap a man, almost any man, around her finger. But that’s just one type of female. And I tell men, especially my own boys, “well if you want one of those pretty girls, there is a lot of drama that goes along with that, so be prepared to deal with it.” Also there are men who are very skilled at seduction, and they have hoardes of women chasing them — or they just have a lot of money. That is it’s own aphrodesiac as far as many are concerned. But I would say, all of this ties into a sort of “might makes right” belief system that we all ascribe to in a variety of different forms.

A good looking woman can pretty well seduce any reasonably compatible guy if she chooses — unless the guy is actually frightened by her sexuality, in which case she already has the upper hand anyway. What most guys would give to benefit from those charms of a woman! But then, everything comes at a cost. In nature the female often has to check the male more carefully before mating, for the aforementioned reasons.

Well, you keep going back to basic biology and that is my point. The base biological scripts that we run, it’s operating on the lowest possible primate level. Shouldn’t we have, for all of our intelligence, moved beyond this? Yes, but instead we have manipulated it, hijacked it, corrupted it. Like make-up, and just a whole host of fake things some women do to alter their appearance to essentially trick the male mind into thinking she has something he wants — largely a fertile egg. At the most basic, primal drive, that’s what female “sexy” indicates - hey, there’s a fertile egg here, you wanna go for it? When what men and women really want from each other is infinitely more complex than that. It’s time for a systems upgrade!

War doesn’t work! It shouldn’t be the thought paradigm that runs the world.

Totally. But even education systems won’t go near this stuff. Instead they teach kids nationalist crap that glorifies nations and their military might. And they would never dare to point out that the media is just a mass propaganda machine. Of course they wouldn’t — most (not all) educationalists are so indoctrinated into that stuff they do not even see it. They are effective at brainwashing kids ’cause they do not even know they are doing it.

Wow. I never even thought about this, but you are so right. Educations systems don’t really touch on the horrors of war much, when they should. Well people can pick it up from pop culture that loves to show us how horrorific war is, (GoT- has the most realistic, life like battles- ever!) Although there may be a bit of glorification in it. (Jon Snow- need I say more? The man has died like three times. That’s not reality. But I love the way he says battle - it’s sexy!)

Ironically enough, one short story that I would teach, every semester, was The Things They Carried. It’s a brilliant short story, by a writer named Tim O’brien. A communications specialist in the Vietnam War, he wrote about the war and a notorious incident the My Lai massacre, where American soldiers apparently just flipped out and killed an entire village of civilians…just because. Tim O’brien kind ofimplies he was there and kind of writes about it, in this collection of short stories. He’s very controversial, though, because he won’t give a straight answer about what he did or did not witness.

Anyway, I digress. The Things They Carried, is the name of the collection of short stories, about the war, as well as one of the names of the short stories. I would teach this story, not to educate anyone on the horrors of war. I would assume it was obvious, without needing to read about it. Instead, I taught it, because it was a brilliant piece of literature; and it was one way I could ensure that male students would engage. They loved this story. They just loved this story. And I was shocked that they loved it so much, because it is extraordinarily complex, from a literary standpoint.

I’m guessing at least 50% of what the writer was conveying went right over their heads. It is just such a complex and artistic piece of literature, about American soldiers in Vietnam. But what the story does, for sure, is it puts you there. It puts you there in the Jungles of Vietnam, as an American soldier, all of whom were just holding on to sanity, by a hope and a prayer, holding on for dear life, because, if they didn’t, they knew they’d be dead.

In fact, that’s what happened to one of their troop members, who was always high. Basically the story is about how this guy is shot down in front of the rest of the troop and they don’t even have the time or ability to grieve it, or process it, because, they have to keep moving. They have to stay alive. It is also about the Lt. blaming himself for it, because he was day dreaming about a woman he imagined he loved, but he really didn’t know her that well. But she was his hope. She was keeping him alive.

I taught this story, because men loved it so, and would actually interact with the text in a meaningful way. But rarely did they get the story on a conscious level (like they rarely would figure out that a troop member had been killed, or that the Lt. was blaming himself.) Because the way the writer tells the story, it’s hard to figure it out. He starts out, by making lists of the things everyone is carrying through the jungle - hence the title of the story. But then, he offhandedly mentions, “oh yeah, by the way, this guy was just shot dead”- and goes back to his lists.

But, I think, what the writer does is put his finger on the pulse of what is required of masculinity in those situations. It’s a very visceral reaction, these men have to the story. As if, they don’t even know why they love it, but they love it. They would struggle to intellectually understand the story- to analyze it- as is required in a literature course. They failed to put into words what made the story so great. But what they understood, was, the sentiment O’brien captured, which was this: When at war, you have to put on a brave face, even after someone standing next to you just got his head blown off, even when you are drenched to the core, even when you are sick to your stomach at what you have just seen, even when you would rather cry, or just give up and die. Unfortunately, the deepest sort of male comradery, as the short story collection indicates, comes from men surviving these kinds of experiences together. I think it’s the reason men love sports. Sports is fake war, (which I suppose is preferable to the real thing.) But, I couldn’t figure out why all men loved this story so much. It’s not an easy read. Women kind of hate it.

Well, one semester, I took on the theme of technology and how it has changed our world. The men loved this theme, they took it over entirely, and the war technology- OMG- there is stuff in use out there that is just — it sounds like something from the year 4000.

I would know nothing about any of this, if it wasn’t for the military students telling me. But then it clicked. I understood why men loved this story about war so. It’s because for men, war is real. It’s very much a part of the male DNA. It’s very much apart of the male experience, in one way or another, to this day — and even if you are a man who has never seen war, there is still so much interest in it because, I guess every man thinks, one day I might. I guess they want to be prepared. It doesn’t explain women’s general disinterest. The way things are going, I might see war too. Still, I am largely disinterested in war literature. But “The Things They Carried” is extraordinary. I think the men loved that story, because it allowed them to examine that experience- their experiences - in a very real and raw way.

It is a shame, the way we lie to young men about war, and then when they return, we don’t give them any real ability to unpack those experiences, which is the only way they are going to heal and return to normal. The suicide rate among our vets, is astronomical, and it is very quiet kept, very quiet.

Working with the Light!

Working with the Light!